Updating from my 2011 artist profile piece, Mike Parillo and CES Contemporary confirm my predictions of the artist’s strategy for a breakthrough international art career.
Last year, I wrote a popular profile piece on the breakthrough contemporary artist, Mike Parillo predicting the start of an international art career. This year, I put it on my must-do 2012 resolutions to buy a piece for my budding art collection before prices shoot into space.
I had the good fortune to talk with Parillo’s business partner and art dealer, Carl E. Smith, who was exceptionally cool enough to talk to me about the piece, his relationship with the artist, and the future of Parillo’s burgeoning international art career under his management for 2012 and beyond.
I sat down with Carl E. Smith, successful commercial graphic artist and owner of CES Contemporary in Laguna Beach, California, via Skype and he was open to giving me the inside scoop on the piece I had purchased from Parillo’s 2011 collection called Watch What You See which is a series of pieces inspired by Parillo’s perception of pop culture icons and global subject matters including a portrait of Charlie Sheen and his scandalous departure from his hit show Two and a Half Men, the Dalai Lama’s public talks, and his reflections of a fanatical religious group’s failed countdown to a Biblical rapture. Our piece of discussion, called PG Singularity 2, is a jet breaking through a sound barrier in space; one in a series of five aviation and space exploration pieces.
This piece, Smith explained, blends Parillo’s fascination with aviation and his perception of humanity, a race of beings who creates technologically advanced machines to break through nature and imposes our egos on one another in an attempt to disprove our material insignificance.
“This piece in so many ways shows how on Earth we have an elite group of men who wave their dicks around at other countries,” Smith explained, “but it’s much more than that: it’s a personal narrative of where Mike is as a man, a human; alone – like the jet – in the universe. It’s radical and beautiful.”
It’s this type of narrative that Carl E. Smith brings out of Mike Parillo, a shy and somewhat disorganized artist who has finally found a voice to speak out for his work. Smith and Parillo have been friends for nearly fifteen years, having met through their work at Volcom. Parillo managed their snow team and Smith was a freelance designer. Their relationship grew from professional to personal having shared a flat in Prague, producing art exhibitions together, and supporting each other’s careers throughout the years.
A year and a half ago, after Smith left his post as Creative Director at Electric Visual in San Clemente, California, he and Parillo agreed to get years of artwork organized in order to go beyond the snowboarding world and into the international contemporary art scene as a legitimate artist with his own voice and story, “Mike was not too responsible in documenting his work, so I had to sort through and document what I could find just to create a story about about his most recent artistic journey.”
Smith began brokering Parillo’s art deals, providing what he says is an “artistic environment” where Parillo can be free to focus on creating works of art. Since Smith is also a graphic designer, the duo is also working on commissions together, having recently signed on to work on Travis Rice’s 2014 pro-model snowboard.
While Smith says Parillo won’t completely forsake his two decades long career in the action sports business, the artist is making a “conscious transition” from action sports to creating pieces destined for private collections.
“2012 marks a year of abstractions and large scale pieces,” Smith explained, “we’re working on developing more connections in the contemporary art world, steadily sharing client success stories and consistently producing at least fifteen to twenty pieces a year.”
Mike Parillo’s previous shows have proven successful with sell out events, sales of limited edition prints, and a growing international client base. It seems that Mike Parillo’s talent and mysterious persona coupled with Carl E. Smith’s business prowess creates an unstoppable duo that will, no doubt, break the through the barriers that stand between them and a successful international art career.